Harding, Pieri lead Xavier runners at LSU Invitational
September 26, 2009
BATON ROUGE, La. — Senior Ebony Harding and freshman
Matt Pieri led the Xavier University of Louisiana cross country teams Saturday in the
LSU Invitational at Highland Road Park.
Harding ran 5,000 meters in 21 minutes, 2.22 seconds to finish
32nd out of 115 runners in the women's race and lead the Gold Nuggets for the 25th time
in as many collegiate races. Harding was the fastest of 23 runners from the Gulf Coast
Athletic Conference — Dillard, Loyola and SUNO also competed — and she beat
52 runners from NCAA Division I.
Pieri, the Gold Rush's No. 2 runner in the previous three
meets, ran 8,000 meters in 28:20.01 to finish 35th out of 112 men. Pieri was the
fastest of 26 GCAC runners and faster than 46 from D-I. He was 59.14 seconds faster
than his closest teammate, Darren Wallace — the biggest gap between the Rush's 1-2
runners in eight meets dating to October 2008.
Freshman Mark Dotson, XU's fastest runner the previous
three races and the men's GCAC Runner of the Week three consecutive weeks, was 55th in 29:46.74
and the Rush's No. 3 runner. Wallace was 48th in 29:19.15.
Individual champions were Houston's Stephanie Aldea in
the women's race (19:01.00) and Southeastern Louisiana's Kalphys Kemboi (25:38.71) in the men's.
Houston won both team championships, scoring 29 points in the men's division
and 40 points in the women's. XU's men scored 204 points to place seventh out of 13 teams, and the Nuggets
scored 302 points to rank 10th out of 16 and stop a streak of four consecutive last-place finishes which
started at the 2008 NAIA National Championship.
The women's race at LSU normally is 6,000 meters, but it was
shortened because of construction on the course.
Both Xavier teams will compete next Saturday in the Gulf
Coast Stampede at Pensacola, Fla. The women will run 5,000 meters at 7:30 a.m.,
and the men will run 8,000 meters at 8 a.m.